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Registered Charity No.

1028085

Supporting educational initiatives and projects in Nicaragua


www.santarosafund.org

SRF NEWS No 54
December 2019

Santa Rosa Fund


to close down
Dear Supporters of the Santa Rosa Fund,

We write this newsletter with great sadness to inform you that the trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund
have decided to close down our operations and our funding of educational projects in Nicaragua at
the end of 2020. All the Fund’s beneficiary organisations in Nicaragua have already been personally
informed of this decision so that they can make plans for the future accordingly. Our core funding
(and possibly more) will continue throughout 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 any remaining funds
will also be disbursed to our partner organisations in Nicaragua.

The trustees have reached this decision very reluctantly and with much soul-searching. One of the
major strengths of the Santa Rosa Fund over the last 31 years has been our ability to maintain steady
personal contact with all our partner organisations. The ten trustees have decided that due to a variety
of reasons such regular person-to-person contact – incidentally, always made at personal expense
rather than using valuable SRF funds – could become increasingly difficult and infrequent. Our
personal circumstances have changed over the years and we do not feel that we are able to devote the
time and energy required to discharge our duties as trustees of the charity.

The level of need has not fallen or disappeared, but we are secure in our belief that we are leaving
most of our partner organisations in sustainable shape, able to continue their own operations without
the assistance of the Santa Rosa Fund. Moreover we have given ample notification of the cessation of
our financial support which should enable our partners to adjust their operations accordingly and/or
to seek alternative sources of funding.

…./ continued overleaf

SRF Newsletter No. 54, December 2019: page 1


This decision is of course a sad one for all of us to have to make, and it has taken us a long time to
reach it. But we believe that rather than grieve for what we are losing, we should celebrate what the
Santa Rosa Fund has achieved since its beginnings in 1988. These achievements are summarised
below and on the following pages.

We must thank everyone who has given us so much support over the last three decades. That support
has of course come in the form of money which we hope and believe we have used responsibly and
to good effect; but we have also received much support in the form of encouragement, ideas and
contacts, and all these things have enabled us to operate as an efficient small person-to-person aid
organisation whose aid has always been directed appropriately and to maximum effect.

We must also thank the hundreds of Nicaraguans with whom we have partnered for their responsible
and effective use of the small amounts of aid that we have been able to provide. For all of us, our
experience over the last thirty years has given the lie to the cynical but nevertheless popular and
misguided tabloid newspaper view that aid money is mostly wasted and feeds corruption. Nothing
could be further from the truth given the wonderful people with whom we have collaborated in
Nicaragua. Such populist lies should be called out.

We should like to ask our supporters to make one final donation to the Santa Rosa Fund this
year. Then at the beginning of 2020, after we have transferred to Nicaragua the appropriate
amounts for the year 2020 (our core funding), we shall be sending another letter to supporters
asking them to cancel their standing orders so that we can draw our financial transactions and
our account to a close at the beginning of 2021.

With very many thanks to you for your support for so many years,

The trustees of the Santa Rosa Fund

Santa Rosa Fund achievements over the years


The Santa Rosa School

 In the 1990s we posted more than 100 boxes of educational


materials and stationery to our twin school in Managua. We were
pleased to learn that all the boxes were received safely.
 Since the year 2000 our agents in Managua – Sabrina Baird and
René Zamora – have made monthly deliveries of much Pupils at Southway School, Plymouth, the original
more educational material to the school. link with the Santa Rosa School, collecting
materials to send to Managua
 With SRF help the wall surrounding the school was
completed.
 In 2001 the SRF provided the funds for the building of a stage in the playground – still very much
in use today.
 Also in 2001, with match funding from the British Embassy,
and thanks to a large donation from the late Ben Dalton’s
widow, the SRF provided the funds required to build the
Ben Dalton Library at the school. See photo to the left.

SRF Newsletter No. 54, December 2019: page 2


 Shortly after opening the library the SRF joined with Books For A Better World to provide
appropriate books for the library.
 The SRF provided shelving, chairs and tables in the library as well as the TV used to show
national curriculum video classes.
 In 2006, with help from the British Embassy, the SRF provided computers and two printers for
use at the school.
 In 2007, 2009 and 2010 the SRF arranged for
volunteers from the UK to help train staff and pupils
in the school in use of the computers. (Thanks to Rick,
James, Alistair and Doug [2007], Ken and Sue [2009]
and to Amy, Rachael and Karla [2010].)
 Earlier volunteers at the school were Tania Rodríguez
in 1998 and Polly Wilding in 2000.
 In 2010 the SRF provided funding to the school for
the building of a much needed new washstand and
toilet area.
 In 2012 the SRF paid for a new air conditioning unit for the computer
room at the school.
 The use of the TV in the Ben Dalton Library had become essential to the
teaching of part of the curriculum at the school but had been shaken off its
brackets during an earthquake; so in 2014 the SRF paid for a replacement
TV, along with 20 new chairs, the old ones having suffered much wear
and tear.
 In 2016, thanks to a donation from Bill Dalton, Ben’s father, the SRF
arranged for new shelving and new tables (see photo to right) in the Ben
Dalton Library.

The Quincho Barrilete Association

 In 1997, the tour group of SRF trustees and supporters paid a visit to the Quincho Barrilete
Association which at that time employed street educators, psychologists and medics to work with
street children with a special view to providing them with protection from the dangers they faced
in a life on the streets.
 Since that visit in 1997, the SRF has made annual donations to the Association, rising in the last
few years to $500 a year.
 Since 2007 the focus of attention of Quincho has changed and
it now provides care and attention to the problems of abused
children who are referred to them by a number of state and
non-state organisations. The SRF continued to support the
organisation’s work.
 In 2011 the SRF made a £1,000 donation for the improvement
of classroom facilities of Quincho’s centre in the Eastern
Market of Managua.
 In 2014 the SRF supported a Quincho project to help abused
children rejoin standard day school by providing each target
child with a knapsack of educational materials that they would
need for their integration into day school. See photo to left.
 In 2019 SRF trustees who were in Managua suggested and
enabled a transfer of two unused computers from the Quincho
Barrilete Association to the Santa Rosa School.

SRF Newsletter No. 54, December 2019: page 3


Other Street Children’s organisations
At various times during the Santa Rosa Fund’s existence we have given varying degrees of support to
other street children’s organisations. These include:

 Casa Alianza Crisis Centre in Managua. In the Fund’s early days in 1995 and 1996, contact
was made with the staff who were setting up a new branch of the well-known street children’s
organisation, Casa Alianza, which works in a number of cities in Central America. Our
contact was limited but included support and ideas.
 La Chureca in Managua. La Chureca is the
major open landfill dump of Nicaragua’s capital
city, Managua. On it live and work numerous
people, including children, who gain a precarious
living by recycling material from the dump. In
2007 and 2008 through collaboration with the
Welsh Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign group we
provided support to the Los Quinchos Centre
which provided health care, a meal, a limited
education and protection to most of the children
who worked on the dump. (See photo to right.)
Again in 2012 the SRF responded to an appeal
for help from the Los Quinchos Centre.
 Somos Diferentes in El Viejo. In 2019 the SRF provided the funds for a programme of
education and play for children who work for a living rather than attending school. The
programme is currently being run by an organisation called Somos Diferentes (‘We Are
Different’) in the town of El Viejo in the north-west of Nicaragua.
 El Viejo Recreation Centre Street Children Project: the SRF donated $400 for the
administration of this programme.

Youth Centres

 From 2005 to 2007 through the Berriz


Sisters, our partner organisation in the
department of Chinandega, the SRF
supported a youth centre in the village of
Cosigüina – see photo to the left. The SRF
paid a small stipend to one of the youths to
care for the centre and provided some
materials for the centre.

 Ever since the SRF’s relationship with the


Berriz Sisters in the town of El Viejo began in
1998 (as a result of Hurricane Mitch), we have
supported the El Viejo Recreation Centre (see
photo to the right) in a number of ways. It is
impossible to say precisely how much of our
funds have been used for the Centre because
the funds we sent went direct to the Berriz
Sisters and they disbursed the funds according

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to need and to the priorities which they decided. But we are aware that the SRF funds have
been used to support:
o the salary of one worker at the Centre over many years, firstly to William Vargas and
later to Eliézer Ortiz;
o the weekly radio programme run by youths at the Centre;
o various bits of equipment needed by the Centre;
o various workshops for youths run by the Centre;
o and thanks to a bequest from the estate of the brother of one of the SRF’s anonymous
supporters, in 2011 we were able to provide $3,500 (US dollars) to purchase and
install flood lighting under the roof of the games pitch at the Centre.

Libraries

 The Ben Dalton Library at the Santa Rosa School,


Managua: Without doubt, one of the most durable and
valuable supports that the SRF has given is the Ben Dalton
Memorial Library in the Santa Rosa School. Ben Dalton’s
widow, Diana, donated the money from Ben’s memorial
trust for this purpose and the amount was match-funded by
the British Embassy in Managua. The day after signing of
the agreement with the Embassy in 2001, work on the
building of the one-room library began. Over the years Modesto Flores and Virginia Hernández
(headteacher at the time) by the plaque
the library has been used by literally thousands of commemorating Ben Dalton outside the library
children, mostly of course pupils at the Santa Rosa
School, although the school has opened out its use to other schools in the area too. The library
is now used to enhance classroom activities associated with the Nicaraguan national
curriculum and receives ongoing support from Bill Dalton, Ben’s father.
 The Padre Teodoro Kint Library in El Viejo: Since before 2016 when the Berriz Sisters
left Nicaragua and the Friends of Holland
Foundation took over their functions in
the Cosigüina Peninsula, the SRF’s funds
have been used to support, through
salaries and materials, the Teodoro Kint
Library in the town of El Viejo. The
library is much used by school parties in
and around the town, but is also seen as
essential during the school holidays when
children are left unsupervised because of
the need for their parents to work. We are
hopeful that the parent organisation of the
Friends of Holland Foundation (an organisation of the same name based in the Netherlands)
will be able to fill the gap left by our financial
support of the library.
 Villa España Library: Villa España is a settlement
established for victims of Hurricane Mitch who were
made homeless by the hurricane in 1998. Two years
after Mitch a primary school was built in the
settlement, but there were few other facilities there
and the youths had no means of entertainment, self-
education or pursuing pastimes. The primary school
therefore turned over a half of one of its classrooms

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for use as a library, but without any resources – see photo. So the SRF provided funds as a
stipend for one of the mothers in the settlement to serve as ‘librarian’ and to enable the
purchase of a few appropriate books and other resources.
 Little Cob: In 2011 the SRF began to
provide support for materials to the
Little Cob which was much more than
a library in the city of Matagalpa. The
Little Cob was a one-room adobe
(cob) building made and inspired by
Dominic Olney who lived partly in
Matagalpa and partly in Plymouth,
UK. As well as a library, it served as a
music room, a computer room, a
studio for art and model-making and
many other purposes. See photo to the
right. It was especially helpful to
many children who had no means of
following their interests at home or elsewhere. The SRF also sent numerous volunteers from
the UK to work briefly at the Little Cob.

Casa Esperanza: Since 2012 the SRF has supported Casa


Esperanza (‘Hope House’), a day centre for people with severe
disabilities and
special needs.
Through first the
Berriz Sisters and more recently through the Friends
of Holland Foundation, our funds have been used to
support the salary of Zeta, the coordinator at the
Centre, shown standing in the photo to the left.
Numerous SRF supporters, trustees and volunteers
have visited Casa Esperanza. All have been made
welcome and everyone agrees what an essential
centre it is.

Los Pozitos: In 2003 Jacky Rushall (who


became one of the trustees of the SRF) paid a
visit to the remote village of Los Pozitos in
north-west Nicaragua, a village of just 16
families, and from that time the SRF has
supported the education of the children of the
village in a number of ways. The support has
included: a teacher’s salary; materials for the
classes; musical instruments; training for the
pre-school teacher; and scholarships to cover
the costs of attending secondary school
elsewhere for those children who wish to do
so as secondary education is understandably
not available in the village.
Los Pozitos children helping to build their new school in 2003

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Other initiatives supported by the SRF:

 Pablo VI School, Managua: In 1989 the forerunner of the SRF made a donation for the
purchase of educational materials at this school in the Barrio El Zumén in Managua. At this
time if children wanted to sit on a chair during their lessons, they had to take their own chair
with them.
 Cabo de Horno School: In 1998 the SRF gave a small donation for school materials to the
one-room primary school in the Cosigüina Peninsula.
 Germán Pomares Pre-School, Villa España: From 1999
to 2008 the SRF made donations of educational materials
and equipment and contributed towards a stipend for the
two unpaid teachers. Villa España was a new settlement
created for victims of Hurricane Mitch which hit the area in
1998. Through the Berriz Sisters the SRF supported the
pre-school as most of the mothers went out to work during
the day, leaving the young children in the charge of their
older siblings or with no-one to care for them. The pre-
school was therefore a crucial facility for the mothers. Germán Pomares Pre-School class
 Chacarseca – the Dried Banana: In 1999, shortly after
Hurricane Mitch, the SRF donated funds to help repair
damage to classrooms in the Chacarseca School near the city of León. Chacarseca is a local
name for a dried banana.
 The Sausage School: In 2003 and 2004, the SRF supported the teacher training of José Luis
Núñez who lived in the little village of El Chorizo – hence, ‘The Sausage School’. The school
was an open-air class held under a tree, and the SRF was poised to help contribute towards
the building of a classroom when land tenancy disputes put paid to the potential building.
 José Urtecho School: in 2006 the SRF donated $400 for the purchase of educational
materials to the very rural and under-funded José Urtecho School.
 Cosigüina Primary School: In 2005 the SRF
made an unsuccessful attempt to find a British
twin school for the Cosigüina Primary School.
No link school could be found here, but we
made good contacts with the Cosigüina school
and later made a small donation for materials to
the school. The photo to the left shows
headteacher at the school Roberto Palma and
teacher Teresita Ríos.
 Santa María La Merced School: In 2007, the Berriz Sisters drew our
attention to the lack of a roof – see photo to the right – on the pre-school
classroom in the main primary school in the town of El Viejo. SRF
trustees happened to be there to see the roofless classroom and emailed
back to the trustees in the UK to seek approval for our payment for a new
roof over the class. Approval was given and before they left the country
they were able to return to the school to see the new roof already in
place.
 Berriz Sisters evaluation programme: in 2008, our partners the Berriz
Sisters who carry out educational and social programmes in the
Cosigüina Peninsula of Nicaragua sought the SRF’s assistance in
conducting an evaluation programme of their own work in the area. This
was an important piece of work designed to improve their work efficiency, and the SRF duly
granted the financial assistance required for this exercise.
SRF Newsletter No. 54, December 2019: page 7
 Xochilt Clinic Workshops, El Viejo: The Roger Buck bequest donated to the SRF by the
Miles family enabled the SRF to extend its support for educational initiatives in Nicaragua to
other organisations and educational causes in the country.
One of these extra causes was a series of workshops on
sexual and reproductive health in several barrios of the
town of El Viejo run by the Xochilt
Clinic. The clinic was originally
established to provide health care to
plantation workers in the region, but
soon realised that there were other
health concerns for the workers and
their families apart from those caused by pesticides.
 Council of Women of the West [of Nicaragua]: This organisation,
referred to as the CMO, is a collaboration of women entrepreneurs in
the two departments of León and Chinandega. Again through the Roger
Buck bequest, the SRF supported the CMO in carrying out a series of
workshops on reducing household vulnerability to natural disasters in
the city of Chinandega.

So, we hope the foregoing will enable our supporters to celebrate what we have achieved over the
years and persuade you all to make one final donation to ensure the continuation of so many of
these worthy projects through 2020 and into 2021. A form is enclosed for that purpose. In the
new year we shall write again to our supporters to suggest the cancellation of their standing
orders.

The Final Santa Rosa Quiz Was A Winner


Our last ever Santa Rosa Quiz which was held on November 1st was also possibly one of the most successful.
When this date was arranged we thought that many of us might be suffering from ‘Brexit Blues’, perhaps that
this wasn’t such a good day to be holding what is usually a very jolly event and that maybe people wouldn’t
feel like turning out on a dark evening in November. We needn’t have worried on either count, more than
eighty people came through the door and the hall was full to capacity. As usual Malcolm tested our brains to
their limits but just maybe the questions were a little easier this year! The profit from the evening was an
amazing £526, a very welcome boost to our funds. Our annual quizzes have become somewhat of an
institution with our local supporters and we would like to thank all of you who have come to them over the
years. Thanks are also due to the cake bakers and the many people who have helped with refreshments and
setting up and clearing the hall. Of course our biggest thanks should go to Malcolm and Judy and their family
for their contribution in making this such a unique and popular event.

And the winners were The Belgian Runners Up with a score of 124. Congratulations to them.

SANTA ROSA FUND CONTACTS www.santarosafund.org

Chair: Pete Mayston, Rose Cottage, Tuckermarsh, Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7HB
Tel. 01822 840297 Email: pete@mayston.eclipse.co.uk
Secretary: Pat Blower, 4 Glebelands, Exminster, Exeter EX6 8AR
Tel. 01392 823646 Email: r.blower@btinternet.com
Treasurer: Pat Mayston – as for Pete (above), except email: mayston@waitrose.com
Twinning links representative: Rick Blower, 4 Glebelands, Exminster, Exeter EX6 8AR
Tel. 01392 823646 Email: r.blower@btinternet.com
Membership secretary: Martin Mowforth, 51 West St., Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JZ
Tel. 01822 617504 Email: mmowforth@plymouth.ac.uk

PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER BY DART PRINT, TAVISTOCK


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